When we mark harvest may depend on where we live. Gathering in the corn or barley is a weather-dependent task. How we think about our harvest will differ according to our needs, our essential foods, and the context in which we exist and place our reflections.
Here are a few pointers -
- if you are planning a Harvest Festival service of worship
- if you wish to reflect further on how we share the gifts of creation
- if you are looking to consider the impact of humanity on the world around us
The ArtServe website offers some good ideas for singing the harvest-related hymns included in Singing the Faith.
The Royal School of Church Music has produced an excellent resource, Bread of Life: a festival service for young voices celebrating God’s physical and spiritual gift of food. As our review suggests, this is a flexible resource that can be adapted for all sorts of music groups and many different occasions.
Each years, All We Can (Methodist relief and development) produces its annual Harvest resource. In 2017, the worship materials focused on the country of Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of Africa but now a place where the country’s very great natural beauty masks the injustice of poverty. All We Can supports local charities to help families create sustainable livelihoods. All We Can’s resources include an introduction to its own work, prayers, readings, full sermon notes and an opportunity for reflection.
Green Christian (“ordinary Christians, extraordinary times”) has gathered together a range of worship materials over the years, including a Harvest Festival Liturgy, under the mantra “letting loose hope”. Green Christian believes that “we are responsible for our impact on God’s creation as a whole”. The organisation exists to help its members “understand and relate these responsibilities to their faith”.
The archive website Rural Matters contains reflections on harvest that are still worth exploring. For example, T.W. Brighton’s “Harvest Dreams”, which ends with the warning:
“An unwise choice can cause irreversible damage to God’s world and farmers everywhere.
In buying food – ‘Tread softly for you tread on farmers’ dreams!’”